Thailand launches national Save Food Campaign in collaboration with FAO to reduce huge amounts of food loss and food waste
25 May 2015, Bangkok, Thailand – The Royal Thai Government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today launched a major awareness-raising initiative to address food loss and food waste in Thailand.
The national Save Food Campaign in Thailand, endorsed by partners of the Save Food Network, is the first of its kind in the ASEAN region. It was launched during an event today at CentralWorld by Thailand’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Apichart Pongsrihadulchai, and FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, Hiroyuki Konuma.
“Worldwide, food worth more than 32 trillion baht is lost during production, at harvest, during handling, transportation, distribution, and storage or is simply wasted and thrown away at the consumer level, and in the retail and food service sectors ” said Konuma in his remarks at the launch. “That is the equivalent of some 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year. To put it another way, that’s more than one-third of all food produced worldwide.”
“While this is a global issue, and while there are no exact figures on how much food is wasted at the consumer level or in the food service and food retail sectors in Thailand, it is easy to see in many restaurants that food prepared for consumers often isn’t finished by them,” said Rosa Rolle, FAO Technical Coordinator of the Save Food Campaign.
“Food losses continue to be the main issue of concern in Thailand. While value chain development is making a difference in reducing the levels of food losses, losses in the traditional systems that supply the bulk of food requirements to the mass market are high, largely due to a limited knowledge base of handlers, the high cost of post-harvest technology and improper packaging and handling. Strategies are, therefore, needed to overcome these bottlenecks,” Rolle added.
“Mishandling along the value chain and food waste by consumers result in more than economic loss,” said Konuma. “They represent a loss of all the valuable efforts and natural resources that were required to grow, harvest, produce and deliver the food to us. We need to remember all the hard work of farmers and fishers to source the food and the waste of natural resources that were required to grow the food. This is especially true in the case of consumers who often order too much food in a restaurant or buy too much when shopping eventually throwing it out later. This borders on indifference and even disrespect of food and the efforts of people who bring it to us,” said Konuma.
Think before you order food, think before you buy food, think before you throw food away
The launch at CentralWorld included a walk-through display area of how food is produced, and how it is too often lost or wasted. A video presentation highlighted consumer attitudes toward food loss and waste and offered suggestions on some of the quite simple actions we can all take to reduce the loss and waste if we think before we order, think before we buy, and think before we throw food away.
Thai celebrities also joined the event to add their support including a mini concert by Thanakrit Panichwid (Wan), a celebrity talk with Chanokwanan (Took), Save-food cooking and storage tips from Chef Bun Borriboon (Ik) and celebrity MC Ning Saraichatt.
The event heard that, depending on variety, 30 – 50 percent of fruits and vegetables in Asia-Pacific are ruined during transportation and handling while anywhere from 12 – 37 percent of rice produced in Southeast Asia is lost during harvest, processing, transportation and storage.
There are solutions – and they aren’t that difficult
From a consumer’s point of view, something as simple as making a shopping list before going to the market – and avoiding impulse over-buying is a smart and economical approach. When eating at a buffet restaurant or even a la carte, it makes more sense to take or order just enough as one can always order more afterwards. These simple measures make it less likely that consumers will waste food
From the perspective of those along the value chain, better packaging and transport of food would lead to less spoilage and loss. Improved storage and handling of food would also save money and avoid loss.
For further information about the Save Food Campaign, contact:
Allan Dow, FAO Regional Communication Officer. Tel: +66 2697 4126 firstname.lastname@example.org